what's on our mind....

creative littles create life-changing photographic book

at kodomo, we’re all about supporting those doing good in the world. that’s why we are thrilled to host the founders of beauty for freedom this saturday for a book signing event at our south end store.

suwana perry and monica watkins created “illuminate,” a book of photographs taken by survivors of child labor trafficking in kolata india. 100% of the book’s proceeds will benefit at-risk kids in india.

we support this cause because freedom should be an issue we are all passionate about and giving back to these children allows them to take control of their own lives and destiny.

as co-founder monica watkins has said:

“if one of us in this word is not free, than none of us are free. we are a global family, we are all in this together.”

we couldn’t agree more. please pop in for a visit on saturday, check out the book and support this incredible cause!

 saturday, september 30 12-6pm, 579  tremont st. boston

 

 

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these are the people in our neighborhood

if you grew up watching mr. rogers, you're familiar with his theme song.  as corny as it might sound now, rogers was a legendary children's advocate and educator and his positive messaging still resonates today. 

one of his main messages, is the importance of community and getting to know and supporting your neighbors. we've been here in the south end for over a year now and are lucky to be part of a community of small business owners and residents.

one of our amazing neighbors is the boston ballet, and we've so enjoyed getting to know the teachers, dancers and adorable ballerinas who come around the corner for a visit.

among these new friends are john lam and kathleen breen combes--best friends who joined the boston ballet almost 15 years ago. 

now the principal dancers are both married with children and like many of us, are and working hard at balancing home life with work life. we love when they sneak off to come visit us in between rehearsals to shop for their littles.

lam (and his husband john ruggieri) appreciate the hand-picked, environmentally- conscious selection of garments available at kodomo to outfit their adorable sons giovanni(4) and santino francesco(2) with. 

"ethically-made clothing is important to us as a family unit as we are hoping to instill consciousness for the environment and mother  earth to our boys," lam shared with us.

this fall, the foursome is looking forward to  visiting the animals at billings farm in vermont, apple picking and pie making and pumpkin carving. 

combes has a gorgeous 18-month old daughter, cora marie, with her husband and retired ballet dancer, yury yanowski. 

little cora is known to try on mom's shoes, chat on her faux cell phone, sing at the top of her lungs and twirl in circles like mommy does on stage! 

kathleen is also a fan of ethically-made clothing and has often asked if we offer adult sizes (as do many of our clients!)

"it makes me feel better knowing i am buying quality, ethically-made clothing and supporting businesses that care about their children as much as i care about mine," she told us.  some of cora's favorite pastimes with mommy include playing peek-a-boo and having epic dance parties. and we love a good dance party, especially when it involves tutus!

kathleen and john were recently in the store and picked out their favorite fall looks for littles.  being a father of two active boys, john knows all too well the importance of comfortable clothing!  you'll see john's kids decked out in popupshop organic baggy pants, and nununu ultra soft cotton tees while apple picking.  as for little cora, she'll be dancing away in style wearing her cozy motoreta sweater paired with motoreta culottes that feature a ruffle skirt (think: tutu meets skort).

john lam's picks from top left: nununu numbered tee shirt $48, nununu cape in heather grey $83, popupshop organic white leo baggy leggings $53, akid anthony high-top pony hair sneakers reg $90 on sale $40 

kathleen combes' picks left to right: motoreta luz sweatshirt $47, motoreta elina baby short $51, tinycottons lamas knee high socks $22

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brand feature: gray label

for the next few weeks we will be featuring different brands on our blog to give you more insight into the companies, the designers, and the missions behind each one. our goal with brand interviews is to create a more personal engagement and familiarity between our customers (you) and the amazing labels that we carry.

 

 

mother, creative director, founder, protector of the environment, and supporter for bridging the gender gap in children's wear, are only a few titles that can be used to begin describing emily gray. global organic textile standard certified, and incredibly fashionable, hardly go hand-in-hand, but with gray label they're basically synonymous. soft, stylish, and sustainable? yes please! with pieces ranging from their classic leggings to sweatshirts and overalls, gray label has something for everyone (it was made to be that way!). we caught up with the amazing emily gray to chat about her inspirations and reasons for starting the brand. 

q: we admire and love your advocacy for using only 100% organic fabrics in your collections. what made you choose to be a conscious designer?

a: we started off using only 100% organic cotton for our designs, but since our second season, we can proudly say we are totally gots certified. for us, this was a big step, as it is not the easy way. prices are higher, and there are less possibilities in terms of suppliers and factories. but for us it's very important to try our very best to produce, and work in an as natural and eco-friendly way as possible.

q: what did you do before gray label? what inspired you to venture into this industry, and start a children’s clothing line?

a: i imported a women's brand from argentina.  when i became pregnant, i discovered the children's clothing world. i was overwhelmed by the bright colours and busy prints. why does a child need this ‘noise’, to be comfortable, and to identify and respect themselves? realizing and observing this made me want to create my own brand, gray label, to bring calmness to the world of children’s fashion by designing minimalistic collections in which the purity of a child emerges best.
 i enjoy creating wardrobe essentials in which children can be their true selves.

q: some, or most, of your collection can be considered unisex. is it important to you to create clothing that can be worn by both boys and girls?

a: we don’t focus on boys or girls. we wanted to make it unisex so that it was wearable for as many children around the world as possible. tailored to fit children's needs, with minimalistic and unisex designs, this way everyone has more options.

q: what is your favorite piece from the most recent collection?

a: the long skirt is my daughter's favourite, she feels like a dancing princess in it!

q: trends vs. personal style, what do you follow when creating your clothing?

a: i don’t believe in trends, we make what we think is nice... i think it is more of an intuition thing.



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brand feature: the animal's observatory

for the next few weeks we will be featuring different brands on our blog to give you more insight into the companies, the designers, and the missions behind each one. our goal with brand interviews is to create a more personal engagement and familiarity between our customers (you) and the amazing labels that we carry.

          

we are so excited to announce the fall/winter 2017 launch of the animal's observatory, now available in our stores and online!  this brand was highly anticipated, and certainly did not disappoint. from the brilliant former creative director of bobo choses, (another favorite brand of ours) laia aguilar, comes a playful and cool collection with hand-drawn prints and a gorgeous muted color palette. each piece is cleverly named after a different animal, to pay homage to the brand's name. we were fortunate enough to catch up with her amidst this exciting launch to ask her a few questions about her inspiration for tao and what it's like to be a parent, and a designer.  

q: we love your manifesto. how did you come up with those 10 essential rules to live by?

a: they are rules i feel that children would happily endorse. and i'm still a child, in the best sense of the term.

q: as parents, how do you incorporate your personal experience with having kids into the decisions you make for the brand?

a: constantly! i am a designer because i became a mother. that's the reason i created my first clothing brand, bobo choses. i wanted to dress my son in my own designs and i have done that over the course of 12 collections at bobo and now at the animals observatory.

q: some of your collections can be considered unisex. is it important to you to create clothing that can be worn by both boys and girls?

a: yes, very important. sometimes there is a distinction made through colours, and that seems absurd to me. the distinction, when there is one, has to come from the overall garment project: the design, the fabric, the universe of the piece of clothing. it's not about whether it is blue or pink. i'm a big supporter of unisex pieces and as the mother of a boy and a girl it is something i really appreciate.

q: what is your favorite piece from the recent collection?

a: it's difficult to single one out because i devise the collections as a whole. each piece has some kind of correlation, a musicality (be it the colour, the illustrations, the design...) with the rest of the collection. that's why my favourite part of the whole process is when i can start putting the outfits together for the photo shoots. that's when everything that i have been imagining, drawing and developing crystallises and the music is revealed. it's wonderful.

q: trend vs. personal style, what do you follow when creating your clothing?

a: personal style, always. i feel comfortable when i'm free and vice versa, just like children.

 

 

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brand feature: boy+girl

for the next few weeks we will be featuring different brands on our blog to give you more insight into the companies, the designers, and the missions behind each one. our goal with brand interviews is to create a more personal engagement and familiarity between our customers (you) and the amazing labels that we carry.

    


if you love sustainably sourced materials, high quality fabrics and cool-yet-classic designs, then boy + girl is your holy grail. before starting the brand, founder christine chang worked for large fashion houses like nike and ralph lauren. her experience with big corporations, and primarily adult brands, has created a certain appreciation for the children’s clothing industry which she likens to the level of happiness that clients seem to have when shopping for their kids. the boy in boy+girl is rooted heavily in the surf and skate culture that is so popular in california. the girl is simple, sensible, and prominently european in style. the combination of the two relaxed and classic counterparts has allowed boy + girl  to become a staple among moms and dads who prefer dressing their children in stylish basics that transcend seasons. in addition to being ridiculously stylish, comfortable, and uber cool, the brand is crafted from only natural materials that are sourced from japanese, american, and european mills. every piece is crafted and designed in california. christine’s goal was to limit her environmental impact, and therefore created a brand that is both sustainable and stylish, so you can feel even better whenever you purchase a piece of boy+girl for your littles.   


q: we admire and love your advocacy for using only natural, and sustainably sourced, fabrics. what made you choose to be a conscious designer?

a: it was a very natural journey. i grew up in northern california and generally our home and community was very considered. that was just the attitude my parents brought us up with, that this earth is precious and and to be celebrated, we have to treat it with respect and love.

q: some, or most, of your collection can be considered unisex. is it important to you to create clothing that can be worn by both boys and girls?

a: girls like to run and play and move as much as the boys do!  it only makes sense that the clothes are comfortable and easy and can be worn by both!​

q: where do you draw most of your inspiration from when curating a collection?

a: everywhere. i think being a designer is about being an observer. i am constantly taking in my surroundings - i snap a lot of pics and jot a lot of notes. anything from food to music to nature to the way the light hits... everything is my inspiration!​

q:  what is the most important difference you have noticed between the children’s clothing industry compared to your previous experience at mostly adult style houses?

a: i love the children's industry because it's fun and happy. it sounds so simple, but it's true. when people see children's clothes, they can't help but smile! i love that joyfulness. ​

q:  trend vs. personal style, what do you follow when creating your clothing?

a: ​never trend, always style. ​

 

 

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brand feature: atsuyo et akiko

for the next few weeks we will be featuring different brands on our blog to give you more insight into the companies, the designers, and the missions behind each one. our goal with brand interviews is to create a more personal engagement and familiarity between our customers (you) and the amazing labels that we carry.

our first brand feature is of brooklyn-based design duo, astuyo et akiko, makers of sparkly accessories, french-inspired graphic tees, and all things whimsical.  launched in 2007 by two equally creative moms, atsuyo yang and akiko mukae, the goal was simple: to make cool and playful clothes and accessories their own children would love to wear.  a decade later, they have accomplished that goal and more.  in 2011, the brand was honored with an award from the walt disney company for their collaboration on the "halo" project.  

we recently caught up with astuyo and akiko who were kind enough to answer some of our questions about their brand.

q: we love and admire your collaborative efforts with various creatives.  what do you look for when creating synergy between the brand and a particular artist?

a: we always look for a story, and colors are very important when we work with other artists for the collection.

q: what did you both do before atsuyo et akiko? what inspired you to venture into this industry, and start a children’s clothing line?

a: atsuyo comes from a fashion background, and was trying to get pregnant when we started the brand. i (akiko) am from the fine arts world.  my daughter was 8 years old when we started the business, and i was already working on making special gifts for my daughter.

q: many of your items incorporate french culture and verbiage- what was the inspiration for that?

a: we both grew up in japan where some french words were just as common as western katakana words. i traveled to france with my daughter right before we started the brand, so we decided to use the common french phrase- "je t’aime" in a lot of our designs. we both love french words, how they sound, and how they look.

q: what is your favorite piece from the recent collection?

a: the violetta dress in ivory with silk ribbon with gold stars print.

q: trend vs. personal style, what do you follow when creating your clothing?

a: we try not to think about trend, since we don't follow seasons in our designs. we reflect our personal life into every collection. we create things that we want our daughters to wear, and enjoy, everyday.



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looking inward: my battle with breast cancer

this is the year i get better. i’m a little over halfway through treatment for breast cancer. it’s a year-long process, though diagnosis actually took much more time. i’m a healthy eater. i was young. i didn’t have any family history, and i’ve never smoked. i was extremely fit, exercising and practicing yoga six days a week. even the doctors i regularly saw could not believe the lumps i had found were tumors. it wasn’t until my symptoms changed that i insisted on seeing a different specialist at a different hospital. it WAS cancer, and i found out the week i turned 40.

a year is a long time, and it can feel even longer when each week brings a new cancer protocol. i’ve had six rounds of pre-surgery chemotherapy, a mastectomy (with six lymph nodes removed along with my right breast), and 12 rounds of weekly taxol. the next phase of treatment includes four-to-six weeks of daily radiation, and an infusion of herceptin every three weeks until i reach the point of being a year out from when care started. i said good-bye to my hair in the fall. i feel pretty terrible most days of the week. a good cry is a good friend to me now.

a few years ago, i often passed the same mother while walking my kiddos to school. she was always pushing a double stroller. she was also bald and obviously battling cancer. she was doing it – taking care of her young kids when she probably felt incredibly unwell. i remember feeling for her, thinking to myself ; “thank goodness it’s not me because i could never handle being a mom with cancer”. i’ve never spoken to this woman, and i don’t even know her name. i had no idea she was a foreshadowing of my future self.

and now here i am, in it – handling it – doing it. i’m fighting cancer, raising two young boys with my husband paul, and i opened kodomo’s doors a short three months after my diagnosis. i am often asked: how ARE you doing all this?!” the truth is, “all this” is what gets me through my day. otherwise it would be all good cries. life goes on, like a mother pushing a stroller.

when i feel my worst, i think to myself, “i might feel better if i get out of bed and take a shower.” if that works, i get dressed and put on my makeup. and then the inertia kicks in. i’m suddenly on the way out the door to take the kids to school; to grab a coffee with a friend; possibly en route to a yoga class; and off to the shop. i’m engaged in the day and distracted from the feeling of FEELING LIKE CRAP, which would have been all-consuming had i not gotten out of bed. my focus shifts to each task, and little events of my day.

i’ve been practicing yoga and and studying its philosophy for several years now. i’m always drawn to a particular aphorism in the ancient yogic texts, “hatha yoga nusasanam”. it directly translates to, “now begins the exploration of yoga”. the exploration is not just a study of the yoga postures, but also a practice of self-study, and a practice of seeking our truth. the “now” is always, every thought and action an opportunity for us to reflect on. when faced with life challenges, it’s common to create stories and start to identify with those stories. we think, “i am…” and end with, “therefore, i can’t”. we forget our true self in the story line we create. we forget that everything else around us is in a state of constant change and that life is a series of impermanent events.

starting a small business as a mom battling cancer may seem absolutely insane, and for me at times, impossible. but i need to explore. as with my morning routine, i take my tasks one at a time. maybe today i just get out of bed. maybe tomorrow is different. things around me will shift and the story line in my head saying, “i can’t” is just that: a story without any truth. so how am i doing this all? i’m taking the small steps. i’m letting go of results. now – always – begins the exploration.

xxj

photos by sadie dayton

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dress boston: a small business story

we are a small children's boutique and we take supporting other local and small businesses very seriously. small businesses are critical to the success of our local economy. according to the small business association (SBA), small businesses have generated 64% of new jobs and paid 44% of the U.S. private payroll.

it’s not always possible to shop small. we know how day-to-day life works (especially when kids are involved): multitudes of multi-tasking across busy days; afternoons of activities that alternately drag and fly by but leave no chance for achieving anything; and evenings that are full of desperate attempts to PUT SAID KIDS TO BED. we get it and even in our own homes it’s oftentimes only amazon and next day delivery that saves the day.

but we do urge you to carve out even an hour this holiday season to visit and support at least one small, local business. get to know the shop owners and staff. hear their stories and see their passions. i’ve done just that with boston businesses over the years, and now want to share one of my own favorite local shops, dress, with you.

dress is located in a beautiful space in the old meeting house in beacon hill. owners jane schlueter and martha pickett carry a wonderful selection of some of my favorite women’s lines – NSF, frame denim, and ulla johnson – and we recently came together to host a kodomo trunk show at their location.

jane and martha are as exceptional as their taste in clothing. they were kind enough to answer a few questions about dress for me, sharing their ethos and showcasing just how exceptionally hard they work to run their wonderful store.

how did you dream up the concept of dress?

jane:

martha and I started planning dress around 2003/2004. We recognized that there was a void in the boston market. many of the brands that we loved and that inspired us weren’t available in boston at the time. we saw an opportunity for a new boutique and believed that our combined skill sets in merchandising and marketing were the right combination to create the kind of store we dreamed of.

many experiences and visions contributed to the concept of dress. ultimately, our brand is inspired by the idea of coco chanel’s “little black dress”, a reference to wardrobe staples in every woman’s closet.

we opened dress in 2005. over ten years later, we are still driven by this concept.

since opening the store, you've both added children to the mix. how has the way you work changed?

martha:

my children are young (18 months and 3 years old), so they still need me physically all day. the way i work now is totally different to how I worked before kids. things have changed particularly since the addition of our second child.

now I get the bulk of my work done in two or three chunks during the day: before they wake up, during their nap time, and the largest chunk after they go to bed.

like all working parents, I've learned to be flexible and to work much more efficiently.

thank you to jane and martha for inspiring me and other small business owners and shoppers in our area. and thanks to everyone who supported small businesses like this one on small business saturday. if you have not yet had a chance to get out and shop locally, i hope this peek behind the small business scenes inspires you to get acquainted with your own neighborhood businesses!

visit dress at 70 charles street in boston or at www.dressboston.com

xx, jasmine

shop small and support local boston businesses

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fresh made simple: recipes by lauren k. stein

we all have that mom crush - admit it, you do too!  mine happens to be chef and author extraordinaire, lauren stein.  we met at our childrens' preschool and immediately clicked.  here's why i love her: we both love to cook and lauren has an appreciation for fresh meals, made simply.  not to mention that she's an incredible mother, and chock full of good juju with all that volunteer work she does for our school :)

we recently hosted an event with lauren at kodomo.  if you haven't had a chance to pick up her beautifully illustrated cookbook, "fresh made simple", run (don't walk!) and get it.  she will transform your weeknight meals like no other.  

lauren shares one of her go-to quick and easy recipes for our latest blog.  read on and get inspired.... because i know what i will be making and eating all week!  check out lauren's webpage here

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leek corn & egg bake recipe - by lauren k. stein

you don’t have to be an expert in the kitchen to make a meal that’s delicious, healthy, and satisfying for everyone at the table. and you don’t need to shop at six different stores to get all your ingredients either. the great thing about locally-sourced, fresh ingredients is that they taste great without much extra effort from you. a few chops and you’re done. it’s hard to go wrong with fresh, natural products.

eggs are one of my favorite, easy, healthy weeknight dinners.  and, they tend to be a crowd pleaser.  plus, if you have a picky eater in the house, it's easy to make a plain batch of scramble eggs while you are whipping up a more dressed up version for the rest of the family.

this leek corn egg bake is one of my favorites.  it's full of fresh corn (or frozen!), creamy and tangy goat cheese and leeks, which are mild but still full of flavor. the best part about egg dishes is once you get a basic recipe down for the base, you can substitute any ingredients you want. i use 5 eggs and a 1/4 cup of whole milk, which usually fits a normal pie pan, then i fill it up with veggies and cheese.  add some meat if you like. scallions are great to toss in with green beans or broccoli and cheese or shredded salmon with cheddar and spinach.  the combos are endless.  you can even toss some cooked pasta into your egg bake if you like.

late season corn is just about done for the season, but for my veggies I try to shop at my local farmers market in copley or the boston public market.  the siena farms shop not far from kodomo has leeks and cheese and butter on hand, everything you need for an easy weeknight egg bake. plus, their selection of other veggies is tremendous. 

for more recipes like this – they’re fun and easy to do, whatever you think of your skills in the kitchen – get your copy of fresh made simple – your guide to enjoying fresh food that you and your family will love.

lauren k. stein will be at kodomo on sunday november 6th!


excerpted from fresh made simple (c) lauren k. stein. illustrations by (c) katie eberts. used with permission of storey publishing.

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sustainable clothing manufacturers

many parents think that when they begin the hunt for new clothing for their children, finding sustainable clothing manufacturers is one thing too many to add to their to-do list. sourcing sustainable children’s clothing manufacturers is rewarding work, however, and it’s getting easier to do every day. within the past few years, sustainable clothing brands have been popping up all over the place. children’s clothing is no exception.

more and more companies are offering sustainable clothing options because, as a whole, our society is starting to realize how important this is for the future. while “fair trade” or “green” manufacturers used to be few and far between, sustainable clothing for children has become a more viable option for consumers seeking an alternative to mass-produced "fast fashion".

knowing that consumers are increasingly conscious regarding environmental issues, the term “sustainable” has been tacked onto many products and services. it’s important to understand what this term means to us as consumers.

this word has been applied to brands that offer products that are organic, eco-friendly, vegan, handmade, or natural-made, just to name a few. a brand might also call themselves sustainable if they have a specific social cause to which they donate products and/or profits.

at kodomo, we are passionate about supporting sustainable clothing brands. we have taken time to meet with each of our designers to understand their production process and to look into their business practices. most sustainable clothing brands will be transparent about their practices and offer the public plenty of information on what makes their brand a good choice. when a clothing brand claims to be sustainable, it is up to them to go the extra mile by educating their potential customers on how their brand is making a difference in the world.

as parents, we want the best for our kids, but also for the world they will grow up in.  strictly purchasing sustainable clothing can seem idealistic and by no means achievable 100% of the time.  but as we strive for a better world, it's the thoughtfulness in our actions that will move us along that path.

xx, jasmine

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AKID donates 500 pairs of shoes to boston kids in need

we're sharing an update about a wonderful event hosted at kodomo on september 24!

our team partnered with los angeles-based footwear co. AKID to 1) officially launch AKID’s kids’ shoes in boston (now available in our beautiful city exclusively at kodomo; and 2) to celebrate an incredible, generous donation of 500 pairs of shoes, made by AKID to boston’s home for little wanderers, a local non-profit providing services and programs for child and family development.

we had over 100 familes pass through kodomo across the afternoon – they enjoyed meeting AKID’s founder ashleigh dempster, learning about the home, and having their own shoe purchases custom monogrammed on site.

we couldn't be more honored to help facilitate this donation for kids in need who will now be kicking off back to school with the coolest kicks in town! 

xx, jasmine

 

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think pink!

in honor of breast cancer awareness month kodomo will be donating 10% of our total month of october sales to help the breast cancer research foundation!

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